Much has been made of the asymmetry of the war, but until now, no one except Dr. Krauthammer has explicitly pointed out the diplomatic asymmetry. Why indeed should we have to continue to demonstrate our religious tolerance, in light of the continually-demonstrated religious intolerance in the Middle East?
Imagine if 19 murderous Christian fundamentalists hijacked four airplanes over Saudi Arabia and, in the name of God, crashed them into the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, destroying the holy Kaaba and killing thousands of innocent Muslim pilgrims. Could anyone doubt that the entire Christian world — clergy and theologians, leaders and lay folk — would rise as one to denounce the act? Yankee Stadium could not hold the trainloads of priests and preachers, reverends and rectors — why, even rabbis would demand entry — that would descend upon a mass service of atonement, shame, ostracism and excommunication. The pope himself would rend his garments at this blasphemous betrayal of Christ.
And yet after Sept. 11, where were the Muslim theologians and clergy, the imams and mullahs, rising around the world to declare that Sept. 11 was a crime against Islam? Where were the fatwas against Osama bin Laden? The voices of high religious authority have been scandalously still.